• Charlie and Dave are on the air calling today's game between Washington and Detroit, though one source says it's on WHFS 1580 AM and another says it's on WFED 1500 AM. Maybe it's on both? It will be on one of the two and on MLB Gameday radio as well as the MLB At Bat 11 app, and the game which will see lefty Tom Gorzelanny on the hill for the Nats against the Tigers' Justin Verlander is also on MASN or MLB.tv for anyone outside of the restricted viewing area who wants to take in the game with F.P. and Bob.
• Sunday Washington Nationals' Starting Lineup:
- NMITDH - Nyjer Morgan - DH
- Rick Ankiel - CF
- Jayson Werth - RF
- Adam LaRoche - 1B
- Wilson "Duke of Lizards" Ramos - C
- The Shark - LF
- Jerry Hairston - 3B
- Alex Cora - 2B
- Alberto "The General" Gonzalez - SS
- Tom Gorzelanny - SP
• Who's Watching/Listening To/Following The Nats?
• In Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's Nationals Journal post this morning entitled, "Nationals roster taking shape with potential surprises", the WaPost writer quotes Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman reiterating something he said earlier this week concerning the decisions still to be made about the Nationals' Opening Day roster, "It’s a big deal, that opening day roster,' Riggleman said. 'Sometimes within a week, it’s different.'"
This apparently isn't just in reference to the situation behind the plate where it appears Pudge Rodriguez will get the Opening Day nod as Riggleman's said for weeks now, but more an acknowledgement of what decisions might be made in the outfield and on the bench in the eleven days which now remain before Opening Day, March 31st against the Atlanta Braves. The talk this morning out the reporters' meeting with Riggleman is that Matt Stairs will likely make the roster as the bench bat, though Laynce Nix is still in the mix for the bench as a backup outfielder.
Yesterday the chatter had Rick Ankiel possibly winning the center field job, now both the Post's Mr. Kilgore and MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling in an article entitled, "Nats' Riggleman facing tough calls on backup infield, bench spots", are acknowledging that it remains possible that the Nats could use Roger Bernadina and Nyjer Morgan's remaining options to send them to Triple-A and leave the Nats with Michael Morse in left Ankiel in center and Jayson Werth in right, with Nix as a backup and Stairs on the bench while Bernadina and Nyjer discover whatever it is they've been missing thus far this Spring up north in Syracuse.
Ryan Zimmerman who's supposed to be taking BP today, but is not guaranteed to make another start before Wednesday's off-day, will be the starting third baseman barring any further setbacks with the groin injury which has sidelined him recently. Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa will be the Nats' middle infield combo. Adam LaRoche is penciled in at first, and after that it's Alex Cora, Alberto Gonzalez and the less-likely option, Brian Bixler in the mix for the final infield spot. Alberto Gonzalez reportedly was unhappy with his playing time last year, a fact that made its way into the public domain, and Alex Cora's considered a consumate veteran. Bixler's made his argument with his bat, putting up a .375/.474/.719 Spring slash line with three doubles, a triple and two HR's in 32 AB's, but is not considered a serious contender.
Pudge Rodriguez (assuming his calf is fine as he's told reporters it is) and Wilson Ramos appear to have won the backstop battle as expected. Jesus Flores, after two years away from competitive play, is likely headed to Syracuse where he'll have to continue to prove he's healthy. Nothing is official yet, though the catching jobs seem secured. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo talked to WFED's Dave Jageler about Flores and Ramos during a recent interview and explained that, "One will stay in the big leagues, one will go to the minor leagues and be insurance for us down the road, get everyday at bats, and you know one of these guys is going to be our everyday catcher in the very near future." But all signs point to Ramos, with the real question remaining whether or not Flores can force his way back into the picture with his play.
Can Roger Bernadina show enough in the next few weeks to remain on the roster? Both Bernadina and Ankiel are left-handed bats with issues against left-handed pitching, which is why Jerry Hairston's been talked about as a platoon partner for whichever player wins the center field job. Can Bernadina beat out Nix and share time in left with Michael Morse as had been the plan all winter? Is Nyjer Morgan completely out of the picture in center as the reports out of Florida would have one believe? There are still a lot of questions to be answered, and that's without even getting into the bullpen and rotation since those decisions will likely come down the very last moment.